The past couple of weeks have been spent really simply—reading a new book at the beach, swimming in the pool, taking a quick trip to St. Simon’s Island (the Tibi outlet** is pretty awesome) and cooking A LOT. Brunch is by far my favorite meal. Brunch food is usually more substantial than breakfast food, and tends to be more sophisticated. This past Sunday, I baked up a strata utilizing a freshly-baked rye bread from Community Loaves. Have you heard of Community Loaves? It’s a subscription-based bread service. Pay a monthly fee, and have fresh bread delivered to your door twice a month. Or you can pick up a loaf at a handful of area retailers, including Lillie’s Coffee Bar at the Beach, or Sweet Theory (an amazing vegan bakery near my office.)
This dish is really good on its own, or with some avocado alongside… and anything baked in a casserole dish is okay by me. Casseroles are fairly easy to put together, and tend to yield a lot of leftovers, especially if you’re serving them to only two people. I personally love leftovers, because they allow me leftovers to individually package and bring to work (not only are leftovers cheaper than eating out, they are generally healthier).
Brie & Egg Strata
Recipe adapted from a 2006 Cooking Light Magazine.
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 cups chopped onion
1 1/2 cups diced unpeeled Yukon gold potato (1 large)
1 cup halved grape tomatoes
1 teaspoon salt, divided
3/4 pound ciabatta (or any type of delicious bread you prefer), cut into 1-inch cubes, toasted
4 ounces Brie cheese, rind removed and chopped
1 cup egg substitute (I just used two additional eggs)
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon herbes de Provence
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 cups 1% low-fat milk
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, potato, and bell pepper; sauté 4 minutes or until tender. Stir in tomatoes; sauté 2 minutes. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon salt. Combine onion mixture and bread.
2. Place half of bread mixture into a 13 x 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle with half of Brie. Top with remaining bread mixture and remaining Brie.
3. Place egg substitute and eggs in a medium bowl. Add remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, herbes de Provence, and pepper. Add milk, stirring with a whisk until well blended. Pour egg mixture over bread mixture. Let stand 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350°.
4. Bake at 350° for 50 minutes or until set. Sprinkle with parsley. Serve immediately.
**PS. A peek at my haul from the Tibi outlet in St. Simon’s. The selection is really wonderful and the prices are amazing… I got that cute little lobster clutch for free, as a result of spending probably too much money.